Lamar Advantage GP Co., L.L.C. v. Cincinnati

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[Cite as Lamar Advantage GP Co., L.L.C. v. Cincinnati, 2021-Ohio-2422.] IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT OF OHIO HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO LAMAR ADVANTAGE GP COMPANY, : APPEAL NO. C-200157 LLC, d.b.a. LAMAR ADVERTISING OF TRIAL NOS. A-1804105 CINCINNATI, OH, : A-1804125 and : O P I N I O N. NORTON OUTDOOR ADVERTISING, : INC., : Plaintiffs-Appellees, : vs. : CITY OF CINCINNATI, OHIO, : NICOLE LEE, TREASURER OF THE CITY OF CINCINNATI, OHIO, : ART DAHLBERG, DIRECTOR OF THE : DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS AND INSPECTIONS FOR THE CITY OF : CINCINNATI, OHIO, : and : REGINALD ZENO, FINANCE DIRECTOR FOR THE CITY OF : CINCINNATI, OHIO, Defendants-Appellants. : Civil Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judgment Appealed From Is: Affirmed Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: July 16, 2021 OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS Strauss Troy Co., LPA, R. Guy Taft and Stephen E. Shilling, for Plaintiff-Appellee Lamar Advantage GP Company, LLC, d.b.a. Lamar Advertising of Cincinnati, OH, Robbins, Kelly, Patterson & Tucker, LPA, Michael A. Galasso and Esther M. Norton, for Plaintiff-Appellee Norton Outdoor Advertising, Inc., Andrew W. Garth, City Solicitor, Marion E. Haynes, III, and Kevin M. Tidd, Assistant City Solicitors, for Defendants-Appellants. 2 OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS WINKLER, Judge. {¶1} This appeal considers whether a request for a financial sanction against a political subdivision premised upon allegations of frivolous conduct is precluded by the immunity from tort liability established by R.C. Chapter 2744. Jurisdiction {¶2} We have jurisdiction in this interlocutory appeal to review the propriety of the trial court’s order denying the political subdivision the benefit of an alleged immunity from liability. See R.C. 2744.02(C). Our jurisdiction, however, is limited to determining the immunity issue, including those issues intertwined with that immunity determination. See, e.g., Kurz v. Great Parks of Hamilton Cty., 2016-Ohio-2909, 65 N.E.3d 96 (1st Dist.) (considering whether there was sufficient evidence of a park employee’s negligence in order to determine whether the park district was entitled to immunity). Mindful of this circumstance, we provide only the facts and procedure necessary for the disposition of this appeal. Background Facts and Procedure {¶3} The case involves consolidated lawsuits filed in July 2018 by two advertising companies, plaintiffs-appellees Lamar Advantage GP Company, LLC, d.b.a. Lamar Advertising of Cincinnati, OH, and Norton Outdoor Advertising, Inc., (collectively the “advertising companies”). The advertising companies filed complaints against defendants-appellants the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, Nicole Lee, treasurer of the city of Cincinnati, Art Dahlberg, director of the department of buildings and inspections for the city of Cincinnati, and Reginald Zeno, finance director for the city of Cincinnati (collectively “the city”) challenging the same two ordinances affecting outdoor advertising in Cincinnati—Ordinance No. 167-2018 and Ordinance No. 163-2018. 3 OHIO FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS {¶4} In November 2018, the trial court entered a judgment that adjudicated claims related to Ordinance No. 167-2018 and contained a Civ.R. 54(B) “final judgment” certification. The city appealed that judgment. This court affirmed in part, reversed in part, …

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